Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey (8/10)

Posted on

The Expanse continues with the story of the first traversals into the mysterious ring. A well-paced story that spends most of its time with new characters rather than Holden and the crew. The TV show follows this story pretty closely but many of the characters are swapped and combined so that, in the show, the main actors are doing things that side characters are doing in the book.

Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters (5/10)

Posted on

Tippett has done some amazing special effects and animation work but you’d probably be better off watching DVD extras for his various films rather than watching this. He doesn’t exactly radiate charisma and I felt like I hadn’t really learned anything about him when it was all over. The main reason to watch this is to see the various models and sketches he created, but, again, a picture book would probably do this better.

Cosmic Retribution: The Infernal Art of Joe Coleman by Joe Coleman (7/10)

Posted on

Joe Coleman is a sicko and he wants you to know it! While I still like his art, I have softened on Coleman over the years. Guys who are in to carnival art, freak shows, and serial killers are a dime-a-dozen these days. Looking back, his art style feels very much of its time, indistinguishable from a dozen other indie comics artists of the past. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, just not as radical as I once thought. Not radical but still as gross and shocking as ever. The book opens with a long interview that gives a good sense of where he is coming from in his art and then the bulk of the book is a combination of some narrative cartoons and color plates of his paintings.

The Devil With Seven Faces (4/10)

Posted on

George Hilton and Carrol Baker couldn’t rescue this hum-drum story from itself. I felt like nothing happened during the course of its running time. I guess there was a car chase and one dead body. But I can’t even remember who was killed, or if they were really killed or if it was imaginary. Being set in Holland, they did manage to have the climax take place on a windmill.

The Monk With the Whip (7/10)

Posted on

Also known as Der Mönch mit der Peitsche, this is the story of German college girls getting murdered by someone other than a monk with a whip. Sure that monk is always lurking nearby but the actual killings are a convoluted scheme involving pickpockets, jailbreaks, and poison gas. I am beginning to realize that these late 60s Krimi aren’t terribly concerned with plot. As usual, the colorful style and comedic tone (and the casting of Slugworth) make it work despite this.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent on PC (4/10)

Posted on

In the end this just became tedious. While you control your character like an FPS, this is almost a point and click adventure. Most missions require you finding an object, combining it with something else, then clicking the combined object on a locked passage. Occasionally you will find yourself hiding from a zombie-like monster (Outlast style). But it is literally a monster—one enemy type the entire game. There’s also some sort of mechanic where you must maintain your sanity, but it’s not interesting at all.

All this would be a moot point if there was a compelling story. Alas, there was not. The backstory is developed as written notes and the occasional narrated flashback. But it’s so easy to forget what it’s about since you, the player, are not involved in the story telling. Something about an orb and a shadow. Who cares. Pass on this one.

Der Hund von Blackwood Castle (7/10)

Posted on

This one has some of the best Peter Thomas music. This is especially true during the opening titles in which a Screaming Jay Hawkins sound-a-like keeps shouting, “Blackwood Castle! It’s cold!” The story doesn’t quite live up to the music. The owner of the titular castle is dead and various people from his past show up only to be killed by a dog with big fangs. There’s an inheritance, hidden jewels, yadda, yadda. I did enjoying seeing Sir John and Miss Finley taking the lead as the main investigators.

Der Hexer (7/10)

Posted on

An early sixties black and white Krimi about a mysterious criminal who has arrived in London to get revenge on the gang that killed his sister, The story is actually somewhat coherent and a bit more serious in tone (though it is still really silly at times). The identity of Der Hexer remains a mystery to the final reel with an unexpected ending that may leave some unsatisfied. They once again shoehorn a school for delinquent girls into the plot and Peter Thomas’s music swings throughout.

A Lesson in Artistic Anatomy - Pen and Ink Drawing

Posted on

As I was finishing up as a graduate art student, I taught life drawing for a year or so. Teaching life drawing is a bit like watching paint dry. You just need to make sure there is a model present and then run the students through various practice exercises. Basically, my criteria for passing the class was to just show up (and yet there would always be one less-than-moron who couldn’t even muster the energy to do that).

However, mastering rendering the figure requires a bit more work than showing up. A very important part is to familiarize oneself with the basics of human anatomy. I was never really taught this (the University of Illinois art department was, how shall we say, lacking in this area) so I took it upon myself to learn what I could and then impart my knowledge onto my students. I would deliver this information as weekly handouts that took the form of a comic book, This was the most basic of basic anatomy overviews but it hit some of the more important topics.

I eventually went to Kinkos and bound the entire thing up in a cheap cover. I was recently reminded of this work when a random visitor to this site (yes, your favorite site on the Internet) informed me that they were given a copy from drawing professors Fennell & Becker. This visitor informed me that, on occasion, they had used the comic in their own drawing classes. Very cool. In the process of reminiscing I scanned the comic and here I am making available to the Internet for the first time ever. Download the PDF, print and enjoy!